Looking back on my 20th Year

As many of you probably know, I am 21 tomorrow, cue looking back over the year and what I have achieved. I have had an absolutely amazing year, probably one of the best I can remember. I have really found out who I am this year and what I want, and I have had some fantastic experiences, from travelling across Europe with my friends, to moving to America, to going to New York and to meeting all the wonderful people I have come to know during my year abroad. I have had the opportunity to write for some great websites- an internship at College Fashion, writing for College Candy, The Fashion Buzz, Duluth Superior Magazine and my weekly column in the UMD Statesman, I have really worked hard on my future this year.

Alton Towers with my best friends for my Birthday last year

A year often doesn't feel like a very long time. A year sometimes seems to slip by without you noticing. And while in some ways, this year seems to have disappeared before my eyes, at the same time I can look back over the year and say "Yes, I have achieved a lot this year." When I look back I can see that I am a different person to who I was last year, I can see how I have grown and how my experiences have changed me. This year I moved nearly 5000 miles from home and I had no idea what to expect. Now I can say it was the best decision I have ever made, and has so far been the best, most inspiring experience of my life.

Me, dressed up for my birthday night out last year. It was cartoon themed- obviously I'm Jessie from Team Rocket and Ed is James!

A year ago I wrote a list of 21 Things I Want to Do Before I'm 21 and I suppose now, a few days before my 21st Birthday, it's time for me to review the list. Looking back, I have achieved quite a lot of things I wanted to this year, others I am yet to achieve and the rest are simply no longer applicable. Some of the things are just no longer as important to me anymore.

Here's how my list looks...

1. Be Taken Out for Dinner
Status: Done
I am fortunate enough to have achieved this goal numerous times over the last year. While I love being spoiled, both my boyfriend and I know that he can't afford to pay for me all the time and I would never expect him to. He's payed for me a couple of times, most notably, our first date, but many things he does are way more important to me than paying for my dinner. However, I'm glad I can say I've been taken out. However, boyfriend, if you're reading this, no-one has ever bought me flowers...

2. Go to New York
Status: Done
Yep, I spent all of Spring Break in New York City with my parents. I'd wanted to go since I was a kid so I'm so glad I can finally say I've been. I loved it!

3. Drink from a Red Cup!!

Status: Done
I am aware these are blue. I don't have a picture with red ones :[[
You American kids have no idea what a big deal this is to us Brits. Don't ask us why. They're always in American films and TV shows at parties and they've become synonymous with American college life, so we love them!

4. Pick my Dissertation Topic(s)
Status: Kinda Done
I have pretty much decided on the topic of my American Studies Dissertation and I have a strong idea for my English one, but I don't really start that until I go back to uni so there's not as much pressure just yet. Let's just say kinda done!

5. Get 1000 hits a day on GNDF
Status: Work in Progress
Hmm. I was almost there with this one, but then I found myself getting far too stressed out about my stats and it really wasn't worth it. I've had a couple of 1000 view days, but I don't like to get caught up in how many views I've had each day, especially as I don't always get a chance to update every day. At the moment I get around 600-800 views a day, which I've decided isn't half bad!

6. Take a photography course.
Status: Half achieved
If you're a regular reader of my blog you might know that I did take a photography course... for one class. But I have been self-teaching myself photography and I'm really starting to get somewhere with it. I would still love to take a course in the future though.

7. Be a better driver
Status: Work in Progress
In fact, I've probably regressed after almost a year of barely driving. This summer I definitely want to start driving more, especially on motorways as I still get completely stressed out by them after 3 years of driving!!

8. Get the position of Lifestyle Editor of my student newspaper
Status: Probably won't happen, but other stuff has
This is completely my fault. I've been so busy this year that I haven't had chance to keep up-to-date with writing for Redbrick and while I would still love this position, I don't think the option is still available to me anymore. But I've really enjoyed having a weekly column in The Statesman this year. Who knows, maybe my experience would be enough to get the position, but I doubt it.

9. Help SFB become huge.
Status: Work in Progress
I have recently gotten involved again with SFB and am now a partner in the company. With all the other writing I was doing this year I just got completely behind with writing for the site, but I'm hoping to start writing more for them again soon.

10. Vintage Shop
Status: Getting there
I thrift and vintage shop occasionally but I just never seem to find anything! I do often have days when I'm home though when I look through all the charity shops in the villages near me, so I guess that counts. I've definitely vintage window-shopped!

11. Learn a New Skill
Status: Done
I was lucky enough to get my DSLR camera as an early birthday present at Christmas and I absolutely love it. My boyfriend is really into photography too so it's nice to be able to share it with him. I really enjoy photography and can't wait to develop my skill more.

12. Get Awesome Work Ex.
Status: Done
I am going to be working at The Sunday Express Style, Love it! Magazine and the Sunday Express this summer and I can't wait! It's great to have all my hard work pay off!! I've also been lucky enough to write for some fantastic websites and publications in the last year which I worked my arse off to achieve, so I'm really happy with my current work experience and looking forward to gaining some more over the summer.

13. Stop Biting my Nails
Status: Work in Progress
One day I will stop biting my nails. 21 years and still going strong...

14. Get something published
Status: Done
While I'm at home I work for View magazine, a small free local magazine. I have written a couple of articles for them now which was really exciting. I also have a weekly column in The Statesman newspaper and online for Duluth Superior Magazine.

15. Write for the student newspaper in Minnesota
Status: Done
Yep, I've had my weekly The Girl Next Door column now since September and I still love seeing my name (and often face) in the paper!

16. Start a new blog
Status: Change of circumstances
I decided not to do this, despite setting up a new blog for the purpose. I love it here at my blog and have found it's been much more fun to blog about my life and experiences abroad here instead of somewhere else. It's nice to have a mix of style and travel, so I have no regrets about not doing this.

17. Love every minute of next year
Status: Done
While this year is far from over yet, I can definitely say I am having the best year of my life and I absolutely love it here. This is the best experience I have ever had.

18. Be more spontaneous
Status: Done
Okay, I'm still obsessively organized, but I think a lot of the experiences I've had and friends I have made wouldn't have happened without some spontaneity. I would never have made such great friends or met my amazing boyfriend if I hadn't asked the girls to hang out with me. I've had to bite the bullet and approach people a lot this year, but I'm so glad I did!

19. Be on a target for a 2.1
Status: Done
So far this is looking good. I got a 2.1 in my second year and I got As in all five of my classes last semester so hopefully if I keep working hard I can get a 2.1 in my degree. Fingers crossed!!

20. Host a dinner party
Status: Work in Progress
This hasn't happened yet, but hopefully when I come home for the summer!!

21. Fall in love
Status: Done..ish
Okay, I've only been with my boyfriend, Erick, for a few months so we're not ready for the "I love you" thing, but I am absolutely crazy about him and think he's amazing. I am so glad he came into my life. He is so good for me and so wonderful. He really is an amazing guy. I am so happy to call him my boyfriend and am really looking forward to the future with him. </vomit-inducing-girlfriend>

Well you know what they say, 12 out of 21 ain't bad. I don't even care. This last year has been absolutely amazing and I can't wait to see what my 21st year will bring. I have learnt so much about myself and the world and the people around me this year, it's exciting to look back and see how much I've grown. I can honestly say I'm excited for the future. Of course, there are a lot of things I'm not looking forward to, like leaving the States and my life and friends and boyfriend here, but I've been so lucky maintaining my relationships with people back home that I really don't think anything will change.

I also re-read my Twenty Things I Have Learnt Now That I'm (Nearly!) Twenty and it's funny looking back and seeing how much I've changed. And also how the same things I knew what I was nineteen I still know now, I just forget about them a lot. These are the lessons I should live by. This year I have learnt to take risks, be more spontaneous, worry less and to take my happiness into my own hands. I also like to think I understand boys a little bit better too!!

So here is my last post as a 20 year old. Tomorrow my lovely boyfriend has taken the day off work so after class I plan on Skyping my parents and opening my presents, having lunch with my best friend and then maybe going for a drive and to take some photographs with my boyfriend, going out for dinner and then hanging out with him and my best friends and having a few birthday drinks. I can't wait!!

I'll probably post some self-indulgent Birthday post tomorrow :]]
See you when I'm 21!!

Charlotte xxx


  1. Happy early birthday! :) That's awesome to see all that you've accomplished!

  2. What a great idea with this list! I love it! Maybe I will try it 23 things though?! Time does fly! <3


  3. Happy early birthday! :)

    I love seeing all the things you've accomplished on your list - I had no idea about the red cups, haha.


  4. Happy birthday!! This is such a great idea to create a list of things to do in the year, I loved seeing everything you've accomplished this year. Congrats!!
    Oh and I laughed so hard at the red cups one, we always have red cups at our parties, so funny.

  5. Happy Birthday hun, technically its your birthday here so YAY!! hehe. hope its fab, get spoilt. also i know what you mean about the red cup thing, seriously many american teen movies are now flashing into my head. love it xo

  6. Happy Birthday, Charlotte! You are such an inspiration! Have a great one!

  7. Happy Birthday!! I hope you have a really great day xx

  8. oh happy birthday Charlotte!!!!! i hope your having a fantastic time as i type :). This was such a awesome post, the red cup thing made me laugh!!

  9. aww, sending many birthday hugs, love your list. How exciting that you are thinking of taking a photography course. I loved taking photo courses, seriously so much fun & I learned SO much! PS you and your boyfriend are adorable. xx veronika

  10. happy happy birthday to you! Hope your 21st year is incredible!

  11. Happy Early Birthday!

    and i also LOVED the red cup comment bc that is so true- there are always red cups at parties I go to haha


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